Eric Bailly’s inclusion against Aston Villa at Old Trafford represents a significant step in his Manchester United career.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rewarded the Ivorian another starting spot in central defence alongside captain Harry Maguire in place of the injured Victor Lindelof.
And, as noted by Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst, it is the first time Bailly has made four successive United starts since September 2017.
The fact that Bailly has not kept his place for four games in over three years highlights the extent to which his United career has been marred by injuries and inconsistency.
But Solskjaer clearly retains faith in the defender who took his chance in the Carabao Cup victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
He was Stretty News’ man-of-the-match in the 1-0 victory over Wolves on Tuesday and will be hoping to make another profound impact at Old Trafford against Dean Smith’s in-form Villa.
It is too early to suggest Bailly has turned a corner and is ready to be a mainstay under Solskjaer, but he now has the platform to make his mark.
Tonight is the first time Eric Bailly is starting four successive #mufc games since September 2017.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) January 1, 2021